Effects of alcohol on pulmonary immunity
Our studies are determining how chronic alcohol consumption increases the severity of pulmonary infections. Alcoholics are known to be at increased risk for severe pulmonary infections, yet the underlying changes in immunity that correspond with the increased disease are poorly understood. Our current work suggests that alterations in CD8 T cell responses, neutrophilia, edema, and pulmonary dendritic cells all contribute to the increased severity. Further we have shown that exposure to ethanol during fetal development leads to long-term increases in susceptibility to influenza virus infections.